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Essay: Eros in Plato’s Symposium

Sample Essay

Phaedrus opens the debate speaking of how Eros is the oldest of the Gods and because of that necessitates that a lover show his beloved his courage in battle since nothing causes him more embarrassment then when the one who loves him see him doing something disreputable. He also speaks of how lovers can sacrifice their own lives in pursuit of the ones they cherish. He cites examples of the sacrifice that Alcestis made for her husband Admetus and how she was allowed to return from Hades as a reward. He also speaks of Orpheus and his non-sacrificial ways as well as how Archilles fought in the face of certain death. He ends by reiterating his first statement of how Eros is the oldest of the Gods and is the most honored and men gain the most honors by following her wisdom.

The second man who speaks is Pausanias about the two aspects of love. One of which is the common type which exist only for the sexual gratification of men, for loving the physically of love sensual nature. And the other speaks of homosexuality as the pursuit of honor and wisdom. He speaks of pedophilia in terms of love and Athenian law. He begins by saying that the object of affection may be a woman or a man. However he says that the person who is loved must not be a boy but a person who has reached maturity. He goes into a discussion of Athenian law saying that it supports the cause of love however it does not support a love which is forced upon someone. He says that a boy should not surrender because of fear, abuse, and contempt or for any political or monetary gains since such a sacrifice is a disgrace. Rather the sacrifice should be one of virtue and with a heart that would do anything for love.

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